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Guide to the Longest Lasting Flowers

You know the saying, all good things must come to an end? Well, sadly this statement is true when it comes to our fav florals, but that doesn’t mean can’t try to keep those petals from plummeting! We’ve asked the experts of Winston Flowers for a refresher course on how to make arrangements last longer – so, get ready for flowers with staying power with the long-lasting botanics below!



Tips by Winston Flowers

Basic Tips for Longevity

  • To arrange loose flowers, fill a clean container with water and flower preservative. Remove foliage that will be below water level. Cut each stem at an angle with a sharp knife and place flowers in water right away.
  • If flowers are already arranged, immediately check the water level and add water to fill the container to the top. Display your arrangement in a cool location, out of direct sunlight.
  • In general, for all flowers, avoid extreme temperatures and keep the water clean. Fewer stems in the vase means less bacteria—and therefore, a longer lifespan.

Protea | Enchanting, tropical blooms perched on tall, sturdy stems. Many varieties of protea are quite large and look gorgeous en masse in a ceramic vase. They have a prolonged life in a vase due to their woodsy nature and don’t require a lot of water to live. Even as they dry out, they continue looking beautiful and lively.

Calla Lilies | Traditionally long-lasting—and their sculptural, architectural design look best when displayed singularly or as a cluster. Check the water every other day to keep it clear. Remove individual calla lilies as they begin to fade or droop, and the rest should remain fresh.

Foliages | Tropical plants such as palms or monstera, traditionally last longer than flowers, especially if the water is kept clear. They add to a beautiful tablescape when displayed in assorted vases. For larger leaves, display as one per vase; and for smaller leaves, display in a collection or group of mixed leaves.

Berries | (such as hypericum berries) can be displayed in a collection of interesting vases or mixed with other woodland textures for a fuller bouquet. Be sure to check the water every other day to make sure it doesn’t get cloudy.

Amaryllis | Large trumpet-shaped flowers that are beloved throughout the holiday and winter months. The stems have multiple blossoms that bloom in succession, which adds to its longevity of its display. Amaryllis have beautiful, thick stems that should be shown off in a clear, tall glass vase.

Cymbidium Orchids | Known for their longevity, these large, exotic flowers are best displayed as a single stem in a vase. The key is to keep the display pure and simple, allowing the flower to radiate its natural beauty.

Thistle | A unique, spiny bloom with a cone center. It comes in a variety of bold colors—like the in striking blue ‘Super Nova’ variety, as well as green and purple. Its sculptural form adds distinctive texture to bouquets, and also looks sophisticated and beautiful when singularly displayed in a vase.

Ornithogalum | Also known as Star-of-Bethlehem based on its star-shaped flowers, ornithogalum are beautiful when clustered together. The stems are skinny, so they fit perfectly in a vase with a smaller neck. With its multiple blooms along the stem, simply remove the blossoms that have wilted and the others will continue to bloom—giving it a longer life.

Chrysanthemums | A longer-lasting flower. Larger varieties, like DecoNova and Fuji, are best displayed on their own to appreciate the enormous blossom. Smaller varieties look lovely when displayed en masse.

Ivy | Represents eternity—and is known to last quite a long time. It adds romance and movement when crowning a single variety floral design, and also looks lovely as an accompaniment to a single stem in a bud vase.

Hybrid Tea Roses |  A cross between hybrid perpetuals and old fashioned tea roses. These hybrid roses were created with all the virtues you look for in a flower: beauty, fragrance, easy care and a tendency to last longer than traditional garden roses. Roses are best displayed as a compact bouquet and will live longer when the stems are cut shorter.

Casablanca Lilies | Notoriously long lasting, as they take about a week to even begin opening. The dramatic white blossoms give off an irresistible scent. To keep fresh, change the water ever few days and recut ½ inch off the stem. Keep away from direct sunlight.

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Behind the Scenes with Winston Flowers

You know them as some of the most renowned wedding pros on the East Coast, but today we’re going behind the scenes with the wildly talented designers of Winston Flowers. Our girl Ruth Eileen captured as each designer showcased their signature style, and sat down to talk career, trends, and advice for all you soon-to-bes. Scroll on for the full Q&As, and head to The Vault for each and every inspiring image.

Tori Samuel

Special Events Designer – Winston Flowers

Tell us a little about your background and how you got into floral design.

TS: Creativity runs in my family. My mother was an avid gardener, floral arranger and sewer. My father worked in advertising and had a knack for illustration and an eye for interior design. Our homes in Bronxville, NY and Nantucket were beautifully decorated with interesting wallpapers and curated collections. I was destined to do something creative with my life! I began taking floral design classes in elementary school—and as I grew up, I found my own talents in illustrating and designing perennial gardens. When I moved to Nantucket, I met an event and floral designer named Robin Bergland. She was amazingly creative, and her events and home reflected a very beautiful and personal style. This is where I found my niche. To this day, I see Robin’s influence in my work and in my home. I walked through the door of Winston Flowers almost 13 years ago and have never looked back. 

Describe your signature style in 3 words.

TS: Soulful. Curated. Cohesive.

What floral trend will stand the test of time?

TS: Classic design. Over the years the look has changed, but the definition has stayed the same.

Your favorite quote that describes your creative process?

TS: “Designing is no longer just about putting stems in a vase anymore, but rather a contemplative, sincere and purposeful approach which is as much about the people you are creating for as the space in which the arrangement will go.” – Emily Thompson

What is a small design change that can make a big impact?

TS: Simple Change #1- Use seasonal flowers. They are the most beautiful and impactful. In the fall, use foliage, branch and dahlias; in the winter, amaryllis and tulips; in the spring, ranunculus, flowering branch and peonies; and in the summer, grasses and colorful Dutch hydrangea. Simple Change #2- Hire a vendor who offers unique options for floral containers and candlelight.

#1 piece of advice for brides when deciding their wedding florals.

TS: Choose a floral and event designer you connect with—someone who understands your vision and can help bring it to the next level. Trust the professionals and take a few chances. This should be fun!

Tell us about your design for the photo shoot.

TS: I wanted to create a colorful autumn palette – using vibrant reds, oranges and yellows – with seasonal fruits, pops of citrus and crabapple branch. I loved taking a different spin on fall, moving away from dark colors and rustic textures. Then I selected materials that were textural, lush and unexpected: garden roses, crabapple branch, ranunculus, viburnum foliage, berries, jasmine vine, parrot tulips, cryptanthus and Meyer lemons. While these materials are always beautiful and would look good in any vessel, I really wanted them to pop. I thought the green jadeite vases were perfect for this, as they have an unexpected and eye-catching color with traditional lines.

In terms of design, I wanted the composition to be simple and let the flowers tell the story. I chose a collection of vase shapes and laid them out on the long white table. I started with the crabapple branch to create strong lines. Then, it was important each flower and each texture had their moment—making sure nothing was overcrowded or lost. The composition was loose and looked somewhat effortless. I finished by adding loose crabapples and vibrant orange Meyer lemons around the vase of the collection.

Benjamin Newbold

Creative Director of Events & Floral Design – Winston Flowers

Tell us a little about your background and how you got into floral design.

BN: Having grown up on a farm in Illinois, I gained an appreciation for hard work and the beauty of nature. I loved art from an early age and eventually left the farm for an education in fine arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). This led me to many collaborations, including backstage work in theater—which was also when I stumbled into a part-time job in flower design. After moving to Boston, I started working with studio and event florists in the area and found my way to Winston Flowers. My evolution into a floral event designer makes it possible for me to combine my interest in art with my love for nature and what it produces.

Describe your signature style in 3 words.

BN: Natural. Modern. Romantic.

What floral trend will stand the test of time?

BN: Simple, pretty flowers.

Your favorite quote that describes your creative process?

BN: “Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.” -Salvador Dali

What is a small design change that can make a big impact when it comes to wedding florals?

BN: Edit everything to what you love—don’t add elements just because you are “supposed to.”

#1 piece of advice for brides when deciding their wedding florals.

BN: Trust your decisions.

Provide an overview of what you created for the photo shoot.

BN: I was inspired by and focused on the best of the early autumn season in a simple green and white color scheme. The centerpiece features abundant mixed varieties of white dahlias with variegated English ivy, pokeweed, stemona japonica rikyuso vine, snowberry and fern in white resin vessels by Tina Frey. I gathered the dahlias in a linear mound and allowed the green elements to peek through and the vines to spill out of the smooth white vessel, which contrasts the unfinished wood surface of the table. Opalescent vessels with green gold interiors hold candles to add another level to the table design. For the bouquet, I flipped the color ratio and concentrated on green with hellebores, ranunculus, fern and then featured white Japanese anemones bundled and entwined in stemona japonica rikyuso vine.

Michael Ciano

Special Events Designer – Winston Flowers

Tell us a little about your background and how you got into floral design.

MC: My career really started when I moved to New York in the early 1990’s. I answered an ad at the New York Botanical Garden, where I was taking floral design classes in my spare time. The ad was posted by an event designer looking for extra help with event design and floral work. I didn’t have much experience, but I reached out anyway. We met at a coffee shop in the West Village, we clicked and she hired me.  After she “taught me the ropes” for a few months in New York, we were off to Paris to design lavish parties and events for some of her wealthy clientele that were based there. It was surreal!

Upon my return from Paris and another year working for her, I set out on my own seeking work in the high end floral shops of New York City. It wasn’t easy—no one would hire me! After persistently pounding the pavement and being almost totally broke, I finally found a job at a very chic Manhattan floral shop. I spent the next three years fine-tuning my floral design skills, buying at the flower market on W 28th Street and eventually managing the shop. I was then able to take that experience on paths which lead me to opportunities at several premier event design companies throughout New York and eventually to Boston and Winston Flowers.

Describe your signature style in 3 words.

MC: Clean. Modern. Sophisticated.

What floral trend will stand the test of time?

MC: Single variety design that lets the flowers speak for themselves. I think some of the most impactful designs feature one type of flower, arranged in a simple and abundant way. Whether this means lots of similar flowers arranged in a vase or a composite of single variety vases grouped together for a bold, cohesive look, the result is always amazing and will stand the test of time.

Your favorite quote that describes your creative process?

MC: A friend who is an interior designer once told me: “Let the materials you’re working with be what they are.” These days everyone is looking for the next ground breaking design idea—when sometimes a simple bowl of tulips is just right! I try to let the flowers stand on their own without manipulating them into something they’re not.

What is a small design change that can make a big impact when it comes to wedding florals?

MC: Great lighting, whether it be achieved through a lighting company or something as simple as votive candlelight. It really enhances the flowers and the entire look of the space.

#1 piece of advice for brides when deciding their wedding florals.

MC: Stay true to your style, be yourself and don’t let anyone talk you into something you don’t want or like! After all, it’s most important that you’re happy.

Provide an overview of what you created for the photo shoot.

MC: This color palette is a favorite of mine. I felt comfortable working with deep, rich colors and lots of texture—to me, it portrays a warm, inviting and comforting display.Inspired by the autumnal surroundings, I created a tablescape reminiscent of a harvest feast. I primarily used lots of small textures instead of big flowers, as I wanted the design to be distinctive. Introducing fruit, vegetables, nuts and berries into a design really brings forth a feeling of bounty. Specifically, I used anemones, kale, figs, persimmon, grasses and berries. The elements were natural and rustic yet sophisticated in balanced earth tones of plum, burgundy, gold and green.

The two long rustic vessels worked well for this tablescape because they mirrored the shape of the rectangular zinc and wood table and added drama to the design. Using many small, interesting textures allowed me to show lots of different elements that worked well together. The wood brought a more casual vibe to the presentation and I dressed up the table a bit with the place settings. The muted colors with pops of brighter tones play off of each other, creating harmony.

What I love about this display is how it can work in many different wedding venues. It makes perfect sense in the country—in a rustic setting like a barn, under a tent on a farm or in a woodland garden. In a modern setting such as a warehouse, raw space or hotel ballroom, it would be unexpected but still work beautifully. Lastly, I designed a bouquet to complement the overall aesthetic in warm, earth and wood tones using garden roses and again, lots of textures. The colors are raspberry, burgundy, merlot, rose, chocolate brown and a hint of ivory.

Photography: Ruth Eileen Photography | Floral Design: Winston Flowers | Benjamin's Chairs, Plates & Napkins: Peterson Party Center | Benjamin's Florals: Winston Flowers | Benjamin's Table: New England Country Rentals | Benjamin's Table Containers: Tina Frey | Michael's Chairs: Peterson Party Center | Michael's Floral & Containers: Winston Flowers | Michael's Napkins: Table Toppers | Michael's Table: New England Country Rentals | Tori's Chairs: Peterson Party Center | Tori's Floral, Containers & Table: Winston Flowers | Tori's Napkins: Table Toppers

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Elegant + Traditional Boston Harbor Hotel Wedding

When you think of a New England wedding, you think of classic elegance and timeless touches—and this gorgeous duo’s big day is the perfect example. With a team of all-star vendors including Sweet Monday PhotographyBrighter Lights MediaLinnea TangorraWinston Flowers and SOHO, this wedding came together exactly how the couple envisioned: classic with a twist. See all the pretty details in THE VAULT!


From The Bride… Jay and I met in Boston and serendipitously lived down the street from each other when we began dating. We have been inseparable from the moment we met and dated for two years before our engagement on my hometown beach. We experienced New York City together and eventually landed back in Boston to be near our family and friends.

We knew that we wanted to have our wedding by the water but also loved the idea of a city wedding – in came the Boston Harbor Hotel. The Wharf Room’s expansive glass windows brought the harbor, boats, and abundant sunlight into our ceremony and reception. We were so fortunate to have a beautiful, sunny day and were able to spend cocktail hour outdoors on the rotunda overlooking the harbor.

I consider my style classic with a twist. I spent a lot of time carefully curating and coordinating each component of our wedding from the floral arrangements to the signature cocktails to the day of elements; a lot of thought and consideration went into every detail. I used the pale blue from the bridesmaids’ dresses as my inspiration and carried it throughout several aspects of the day.

I always envisioned myself in an elegant, lace wedding dress, and I was so excited to wear the stunning design from Amsale Aberra’s Kenneth Pool collection. The simple, romantic front combined with the dramatic, illusion back and long train was exactly what I had imagined.

Our first look has to be one of my favorite moments of the day. To have a few private minutes to ourselves to take in all that we were about to experience was so special. We were so grateful to have Brighter Lights Media and Sweet Monday Photography to capture the excitement and emotion of our day so beautifully.

Most importantly, we wanted to have fun and enjoy every second. We could not have imagined a more perfect day surrounded by our family and friends and are so appreciative of everyone who made it a truly incredible and memorable celebration!

Photography: Sweet Monday Photography | Cinematography: Brighter Lights Media | Event Planning: Linnea Tangorra | Floral Design: Winston Flowers | Wedding Dress: Kenneth Pool | Invitations: Dear Rose Studio | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Dessy | Makeup: Dani Wagener Beauty | Hair: Will Charles Salon | Band: SOHO | Venue: Boston Harbor Hotel

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